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MAY 2018

KOREA • Issue 136 • May 2018

Treachery and Mania in the Land of the Jindogae

A stroll through Seoul’s digital center



mud festival

BUYEO ungyeong M SEODONG traditional LOTUS FESTIVAL l a v i t s e f a e t damyang bamboo fest

Kiwi Chamber hostS 10th wine fest




Jeongnamjin Jangheungjin

Water Festival

Miryang Arirang









Looking for fun this summer? Check out the Groove Festival Guide!

ABOUT THE COVER With warm weather seemingly here to stay, festival season has officially kicked off here in South Korea. From Seoul to Busan, many regions are boasting their best. And whether you’re into more traditional events, love chicken and beer, or are out to have a roaring good time at a music fest, there is a bit of something for everyone families included. Cover Illustration Cess Rodriguez







MOBILE SERVICE FOR FOREIGNERS Multilingual mobile service help for all


40 6





LET THE WINE FLOW Wine lovers rejoice! The Kiwi Wine Fest is back!


MAKING IT BETTER Local band hopes to make indie concerts better for women


TO LIKE OR NOT TO LIKE Taking a break from SNS is good for the soul


URBAN PLAYGROUND Take a stroll through the center of Korea’s digital age


ITAEWON MOVES SOUTH Treachery and Mania in the Land of the Jindogae




General Inquiries







SPECIAL THANKS TO The Kiwi Chamber, Jiaying Lim, Kim Youngjun, David Tizzard, DEELEEBOB Music, Wendy Palomo, Anders Nienstaedt, Billy Carter, MPC Partners, YESCOM, Priscilla Dayandante and Volume Unit



To contribute to Groove Korea, email or the appropriate editors. To have Groove Korea delivered to your home or business, email To promote and event or share your opinions, please email or the appropriate editor. The articles are the sole property of GROOVE KOREA. No reproduction is permitted without the express written consent of GROOVE KOREA. The opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. © All rights reserved Groove Korea 2006






C-Festival 2018

Olive Con

May 2 – 6 COEX

May 2 – 6 COEX

Contemporary and trendy Art & Design exhibition showcases urban culture contents

Olivecon is the lifestyle shopping convention which is based on food culture trend with even kitchen&living trend in one place.


Marc Chagall

Cosmobeauty Seoul 2018

Until August 18 M Contemporary Art Center at Yeoksam-dong, Seoul

May 9 – 11 COEX Presents the latest trend of cosmetics as well as new technologies in beauty industry holding approximately 400 companies with 550 booths.





Dua Lipa May 6 YES24LIVEHALL




Solo: A Star Wars Story Alden Ehrenreich Emilia Clarke Woody Harrelson

Borg/McEnroe Sverrir Gudnason Shia LaBeouf Stellan Skarsgard


Peter Rabbit

The Trip to Spain

James Corden Domhnall Gleeson Rose Byrne

Steve Coogan Rob Brydon

Deadpool 2 Ryan Reynolds Josh Brolin



Seoul Global Center Mobile Service for Foreigners T

he expat community in South Korea is growing year by year especially in the capital city, Seoul. It is no wonder why the Seoul Metropolitan Government has implemented various support services for foreigners to make their lives in South Korea easier. One is the Seoul Global Center, which is a comprehensive support center that offers multilingual daily living consultation services to foreigners, situated right next to Jonggak Station, line 1, exit 6. Its services include a mobile service to help make the lives of foreigners hassle free. Last September 2017, the Seoul Global Center in partnership with Gownet, Co., Ltd. launched the mobile service for foreigners to provide the best quality service to the expat community. Gownet is a global IT

solutions provider company in South Korea supporting around 500 global companies by providing the most valuable IT services. It expanded its service network with contracts with 120 big company networks. One of the services it provides is the mobility service to various local and international companies here in South Korea. As Gownet continues to make trends on corporation mobility with the best services, they seek to extend these services to the expat community as well, along with one of its major partners, SK Telecom. They provide free mobile service English consultation and assistance to foreign residents and also information services for any wired/ wireless communication products and services, helping them with buying new and used mobile phones, arranging smartphones and tablets plan services,

contracts, (opening of a new mobile phone account and disconnection services etc.) as well as prepaid SIM cards and free international call service. The services are available Monday to Friday from 11am to 5pm.

Company Provider

Gownet with SK Telecom, 02-20754134

Available services

Opening of postpaid and prepaid phone plans, purchasing new or used phones, internet phone calls, discount for international call 00700, SKT English consultation

Gownet in Seoul For inquiries Global Center, 02-2075-4134 Business hours

Monday to Friday, 11:00 - 17:00


5th Floor, Seoul Global Center (near Jonggak Station, Line 1, Exit 6)

Now, as the number of expats in South Korea, particularly in Seoul, multiplies, they have no need to worry about signing a new mobile phone contract or any mobile-related services since this very convenient foreignerfriendly mobile service at Seoul Global Center overcomes the language barriers. The Gownet-ICT English support team consultants are waiting to assist you with your mobile phone solution needs. They would be very glad to speak with you, so please visit the center or call for any consultations.



A FESTIVAL FOR EVERYONE Groove Korea’s guide to upcoming spring, summer fests Story EMMA KALKA • Illustration ELLA DAYANDANTE 18


REGIONAL FESTIVALS Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival April 28-May 7 Started in 1999, the Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival takes place at the Mungyeong Open Set Center in Mungyeong City, known for its long-held tradition of making ceramic tea cups, known as chasabal in Korean. The 19th edition of the festival will operate under the theme “Dream of Mungyeong CHASABAL! Captures the world!” The festival centers on showing visitors the city’s pride in this traditional practice, which uses the sandy soil of the region. Throughout the festival there will be live performances of music and traditional dances, along with demonstrations of how tea cups are made, including opportunities for visitors to make their own as well as take part in traditional tea ceremonies. Ticket Information: Adults – 5,000 won; Children/Teens (age 7-18) – 3,000 won Address: 36, Saejae 2-gil, Mungyeong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do Website:

Damyang Bamboo Festival MAY 5-7 Since the Goryeo Dynasty, Juksal Day has been celebrated in May according to the Lunar calendar and was a day to plant bamboo in the Damyang area. As time passed, the tradition waned and other local holidays were added. In 1993, the current iteration of the Damyang Bamboo Festival was born. The festival works to revive the old tradition of Juksal Day and planting bamboo. Set in and around a tranquil bamboo forest, the festival boasts various activities from a Bamboo Fair to a Bamboo Musical Instrument Performance Contest, Bamboo-cutting Sword Championship, Writing and Painting Competition, fishing, raftering and the opportunity to make daetongsul, or a bamboo bottle traditional liquor. Ticket Information: Some activities and sites may require admission fees Address: 119, Jungnogwon-ro, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do Website:



Miryang Arirang Festival May 17-20 While there are many versions of the traditional folk song Arirang, it has been listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2012. The Miryang Arirang Festival – set at the Yeongnamru Pavilion and other areas of the Miryang riverside - celebrates this song and it history through various activities such as performances, parades and programs, even educating visitors on the three major regional versions of the song – Miryang Arirang, Jeongsan Arirang and Jindo Arirang. Ticket Information: N/A Address: 324, Jungang-ro, Miryang-si, Gyeongsangnam-do

Boseong Green Tea Festival May 18-22 Held every May on the Boseong Tea Planation in the hills of Hwalseong Mountain, the Green Tea Festival boasts of the area’s pride of being the largest tea producer and the center of the tea industry in Korea. There are a variety of events held, including the ritual held for the Tea God to pray for a good harvest, picking tea leaves, making tea and the Tea Lady Contest. It is known as the representative tea festival in Korea. There will also be several exhibitions focusing on green tea. Ticket Information: N/A Address: Website: boseong?menuCd=DOM_000000403001000000



Sinchon Water Gun Festival July 7-8 For two days every summer, the streets of Sinchon will become a giant water battlefield. The Sinchon Water Gun Festival is set to take place again and includes an opening ceremony, concert, DJs, and – of course - the water gun fight. There will be a special family zone with activities for kids, as well as the water gun zone and a giant water slide. You can buy water guns at the festival or bring your own. Ticket Information: Not released at publication Address: Sinchon Station Website:

Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival MAY 5-7 Set in Gungnamji in Seodong Park in Buyeo, the Buyeo Seodang Lotus Festival celebrates the beauty of the lotus flower as well as encouraging the preservation of wild flowers. The festival includes a large number of activities centered on the flower including making paper lotuses, making lotus soap, and making jewelry from lotus flowers. There will also be a number of performances, concerts, a night parade, an opening ceremony and exhibitions. Shuttle buses will be offered around Buyeo that will go directly to the festival grounds. Ticket Information: Free (fees may apply to some activities) Address: 52, Gungnam-ro, Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do Website:



Jangheungjin Jeongnamjin Water Festival July 27-Aug. 2 Those hoping to escape the summer heat may want to check out the Jangeungjin Jeongnamjin Water Festival set around the Jangheung Tamjin River and the Pyeonbaek Forest Woodland in Jangheung County. Held every year, the festival offers something a bit different from other traditional festivals, with a number of summer and water-related events and activities. There will be fireworks, a laser show, water fights, a natural medicinal herb healing pool, hand fishing and various other exhibitions, performances and programs throughout. Ticket Information: Free (Certain activities involve fees) Address: 21, Jangheung-ro, Jangheung-gun, Jeollanam-do Website:

Boryeong Mud Festival July 13-22 Quite possibly the largest global summer festival in Korea, the Boryeong Mud Festival is returning for its 20th edition this July. Set in the town of Boryeong on Daecheon Beach, the festival centers around the local mud that is said to have many cosmetic benefits. Every year, the fest offers a large variety of activities and events from mud baths to mud body painting, mud slides, Mudflat Games, street parades, yachting, concerts and more. Ticket Information: Adult – (Mon-Thu) 10,000 won, (Fri-Sun) 12,000 won; Kids – (Mon-Thu) 8,000 won, (Fri-Sun) 11,000 won (more information available on website) Address: 897-15, Daehae-ro, Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do Website:


Muju Firefly Festival

Arts & Entertainment Chuncheon International Mime Festival – May 20-27


Muju Firefly Festival Sept. 1-9 As a natural habitat for fireflies, Muju offers this enchanted festival every year with many attractions and activities. There will be traditional performances, exhibitions, hands-on experiences and chances to learn more about fireflies and marsh snails, which fireflies feed off of. But the best part of the festival comes after the sun goes down when thousands of fireflies light up the sky. This is the 22nd edition of the festival and this year it was named one of the country’s best festivals by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Ticket Information: N/A Address: 326-17, Hanpungnu-ro, Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do Website:



ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Chuncheon International Mime Festival May 20-27 Billed as one of the biggest mime festivals in the world, the Chuncheon International Mime Festival will include performances from all over the world, all focusing on body, movement and image. The performances will take place throughout downtown Chucheon, Festival Theater Momzit, Animation Museum, Seumsup Park and Waterfront Park. There will also be a flea market at the event. Tickets: 20,000 won Address: 112, Chuncheon-ro, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do Website: and

Daegu Chimac Festival MAY 5-7 On the back of Korea’s love affair with fried chicken and beer, the Daegu Chimac Festival is returning this year, billed as the “mecca for chicken and beer lovers across the nation.” It brought in over 800,000 guests in 2013 and 1 million in 2016, making it once of the biggest festivals in Korea. The festival will take place in Duryu Park in Daegu and includes live cultural performances and music. While it is open to all ages, only those aged 19 or older can purchase alcohol. Ticket Information: Free Address: 36, Gongwonsunhwan-ro, Dalseo-gu, Daegu Website:



Comic Con Seoul Aug. 3-5 It’s back. After it’s debut last year, Comic Con Seoul is returning to COEX this summer, expanding to three days. Last year brought stars Steven Yeun and Mads Mikkelsen, so who knows who will show up this year. Entertainment guests have yet to be announced, but there will be an artist alley, merchandise booths, food, shows, panels and a cosplay contest. Stay tuned to the con’s social media pages for updates on tickets, entertainment guests and even more. Ticket Information: One-day – 25,000-27,000 won; Two-day – 40,000 won; Three-day – 50,000 won (Info on Star Pass coming soon) Address: 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Website: or https://www.

Chuncheon Dalkgalbi & Makkuksu Festival Aug. 28-Sept. A local festival introducing the delicacies of Chuncheon, the Chuncheon Dalkgalbi & Makkuksu Festival is sure to be a scrumptious feast. The area is well known for its dalkgalbi (spicy stir-fried chicken) and makkuksu (spicy buckwheat noodles). The festival will offer various events like Korean wrestling, a gag concert, a ssireum contest, and a singing contest, as well as hands-on programs such as making traditional makkuksu. Ticket Information: N/A Address: 1, Pyeonghwa-ro, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do Website:




MUSIC FESTIVALS Sensation MAY 5 Started in Amsterdam as a one-off event, Sensation has been dazzling the senses of EDM fans since 2000. The event was started to commemorate the life of ID&T co-founder Duncan Stutterheim’s brother Miles, who died tragically in a car accident. Rather than mourning in black, Duncan asked everyone to wear white – as had been done at his brother’s funeral. From there, the event exploded and now has 19 different themes and is held in stadiums and arenas all over the world. Sensation Korea is a 19 and up event and everyone must wear all white (only excluding shoes and accessories) or they will be denied entry. The Korea edition will take place at Gocheok Sky Dome. Lineup: Mr. White, Chocolate Puma, Dirty South, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Dannic, Dash Berlin Ticket Information: 132,000 won (Deluxe, VIP & Royal tickets also available) Address: 430, Gyeongin-ro, Guro-gu, Seoul Website:

GREENPLUGGED SEOUL May 19-20 A unique festival in its own right, GREENPLUGGED SEOUL is returning for its eighth edition this spring. The fest combines attention to being eco-friendly, as well as good music from local acts set in the beautiful area around the Han River at Nanji Hangang Park. The festival has always prided itself in providing more than just music – it includes many booths selling eco-friendly products and information on various environmental programs, including its own desertification prevention program “40 Project.” It also pushes to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Seven stages will provide a little something for everyone – hip-hop, R&B, rock, electronic and pop. The fest prides itself in putting together a balanced lineup that gives opportunities to talented, lesser known artists. Unlike other, bigger festivals, they allow folks to bring in their own food and coolers for picnics. Lineup: MFBTY, Lucky Tapes, Moonchild, Will Joseph Cook, Ambition Musik, YB, Ssing Ssing, Life & Time, VMC, Indiotape, Zion.T, Standing Egg, and more. Ticket Information: Two-day – 119,000 won; One-day – 70,000 won Address: 162, Hangangnanji-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul Website:



Seoul Jazz Festival May 19-20 Returning for its 12th year, the Seoul Jazz Festival is set to take off at Olympic Park, bringing in some much soughtafter artists to perform. While a large part of its lineup does focus on jazz, the festival has expanded over the years, including varying genres such as hip-hop and R&B. This year is no different with the famed Lauryn Hill headlining on Sunday and other foreign artists such as Jessi J, Kehlani and Iron & Wine gracing the stage. Other artists include Epik High, Maceo Parker, Chris Botti, Gretchen Parlato, Roy Kim, Lee Hi, plus many, many more. Lineup: Lauryn Hill, Jessi J, Kehlani, Iron & Wine, Epik High, Maceo Parker, Chris Botti, Gretchen Parlato, Roy Kim, Lee Hi, NELL, Lucid Fall Trio, Mama’s Gun, Hyukoh, Loyle Carner, Branford Marsilis Quartet, Arturo Sandaval & His All-Star Band, and more. Ticket Information: One-Day – 155,000 won Address: 424 Olympic-ro, Bangi-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul Website:

Jarasum Folk Festival May 19-20 Jarasum Island is set to be the gathering place for folk singers of all kinds this spring, with the Jarasum Folk Festival taking place. The fest says that it will feature warm spring weather combined with acoustic sounds to create an atmosphere for families, friends and lovers. Lineup: Dongmulwon, Buldok Mansion, Shin Hyun-hee with Kim Root, Yoori Sangja, Lee Seung-yol, Han Dae-soo and more. Ticket Information: Two-Day Pass – 99,000 won; One-Day Pass – 66,000 won Address: Jaraseom Island, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do Website:자라섬-포크-페스티벌2018-Jarasum-Folk-Festival-2018-446624869113268/



World DJ Festival May 26-27 Making its return to the festival lineup is Korea’s largest DJ festival – World DJ Festival. The festival is set to take over Jamsil Olympic Stadium for two days. It’s the second year of the festival after its seven-year hiatus. It initially started as a part of the Hi Seoul Festival back in 2007, but is now known as one of the top music festivals in the country, bringing in DJs from all over the world. Lineup: Gryyfin, Oliver Nielson, Tobtok, Seven Lions, Julian Jordan X Tymen, Boys Noize, Porter Robinson, Matoma, Villain, and more. Ticket Information: One-Day Free – 99,000 won; OneDay Sunday – 69,000 won; Two-Day – 139,000 won Address: 29 Olympic Road 29, Songpa-gu Seoul Website:

Rainbow Island Music & Camping Festival June 2-3 Taking place in the serenity of Jarasum Island in Gyeonggi-do, Rainbow Island Music & Camping Festival bring music into nature, creating a relaxing and refreshing atmosphere for music and nature lovers to enjoy. It is known as Korea’s largest camping festival, providing various packages for groups of all sizes. Those who don’t own camping gear can rent it from the festival. The festival also provides shuttle buses from two locations in Seoul directly to the festival grounds and back. Music-wise, there is a little bit of everything, from rock to pop, to reggae and hip-hop. Lineup: Skull X Haha, Dynamic Duo, 10CM, Younha, Kingston Rudieska, Gogostar, Standing Egg, Tiger Disco, Rudepaper, Cherry Coke, and more. Ticket Information: Entrance - Early Bird – 55,000 won, Regular – 88,000 won; Camping – Ground A (Site & Gear, 4 people) – 88,000 won, Ground B (Site & Gear, 2 people) – 66,000 won, Ground B (Site & Gear, 4 people) – 88,000 won; Shuttle Bus – 12,000 won Address: Jaraseom Island, Gapyeong-eup, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do Website:



DMZ Peace Train Music Festival June 21-24 A new annual festival joining the summer lineup this year is the DMZ Peace Train Music Festival. The organizers are hoping to continue the thaw in inter-Korean tensions by hosting a symposium and music fest including many local indie and underground groups, as well as a few foreign acts. Co-founded by Martin Elbourne, who works in booking for Glastonbury, and Lee Dong-yeon, a professor at Korea National University of the Arts, the festival will take place at Goseokjeong Pavilion in Cheorwon County. Lineup: Crying Nut, Ssing Ssing, Kiha & the Faces, Jonathon Joyce, Jambinai, Colonel Mustard & the Dijon Five, and more Ticket Information: Free Address: 1825, Taebong-ro, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do Website: N/A

5TARDIUM July 7-8 Offering listeners a unique music opportunity, 5TARIUM bills itself as a surrealistic EDM festival that allows attendees to become a part of music and space. A unique layout, the festival is set up in a pentagon with five connected stages that literally surround the audience. The festival brings in 10 artists from five different EDM genres to play over two days. Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, this year marks the festival’s fifth anniversary. The festival is only open to those 19 and older. Lineup: Blasterjaxx, Cat Dealers, Head Hunterz, Netsky, Bryan Kearney, So What Not, and more. Ticket Information: Early Bird One-Day Pass – 79,000 won; Season 1 One-Day Pass – 89,000 won; Premium One-Day Pass – 150,000 won Address: To be announced… Website:



Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival Aug. 10-12 One of Korea’s largest summer festivals, Pentaport will be coming back this summer and sure to pack the stages with top local and foreign talent. Past festivals have always brought a variety of music besides rock, with acts such as Dua Lipa, Bastille, Justice, Charli XCX and 5 Seconds of Summer appearing in last year’s festival, and Panic! At the Disco and Fall Out Boy headlining in the years before that. Lineup and ticket information is to be announced in May. Website:

World Club Dome Korea Sept. 14-16 After a successful run last year, the world’s biggest club - World Club Dome - is returning to Korea this fall. So far, no information on the lineup or venue has been released, but pre-registration is up on the website. The first round of three-day early bird tickets have been sold out, but more will be made available at a later day. Watch the website and Facebook page for more information. Website: and



Let the winE





hile to many from around the world, New Zealand may be known as the land of hobbits, elves and one ring to rule them all. But there is so much more to this country, one of which being its vineyards and wines, which will be on full display at the upcoming New Zealand Wine Festival to take place in Seoul and Busan, put on by the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce – akaThe Kiwi Chamber. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Seoul festival and both festivals are being carried out under the theme of “Pure Discovery New Zealand Wine.” They will offer guests a selection of wines from over 20 of the country’s top vineyards, and hopefully inspire them to return to the roots of “Pure New Zealand,” according to the chamber. “As we celebrate 10 years of the chamber and New Zealand Wine Festival in Seoul, it is amazing to see how the chamber has grown from its small beginnings to where it is today,” said Dr. Tony Garrett, chairman of The Kiwi Chamber. “Apart from our core activities to facilitate business opportunities between our two countries, we also host two major wine festivals annually, one in Seoul and one in Busan, and numerous other events including our own amazing Year-end Grand Hui which caps of each year.” Garrett continues that the chamber was established to facilitate and profile business networks and projects with Korea, of which wine is a major part. Through these wine festivals, the growth of New Zealand wine and the interest of Korean consumers in these wines has been a big benefit for the country’s vineyards. Since the Korea-New Zealand FTA took effect in December 2015, New Zealand wine exports to Korea have increased 45 percent and the country is now the 10th largest exporter to Korea. There are currently over 50 premium New Zealand wine brands available in Korea. According to the chamber, wines from New Zealand are known to be “contemporary and now,” and producers are recognized as world leaders in innovation and sustainable wine production. The country has a wide range of climates and soil types which allow it to offer a full spectrum of wines.


A few key wineries offering vintage reds and whites taking part in this year’s festivals are Babich Wines, the country’s largest family-owned winery; Hunter’s, which produces the world famous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay; Wooing Tree, which specializes in Pinot Noir, Rose, Blondie and Chardonnay; Raparura Springs, which won gold for its 2017 Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris at the 2018 Royal Easter Snow Wine Awards; and te Pa, known for its Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc Oke, Rose, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc vintage. Other wineries include Kim Crawford, Clos Henry, Pallister Estate, Pancarrow, Schubert and Marlborough Sun. “Our theme, Pure Discovery New Zealand Wine, will allow the participant to explore and ‘discover’ the new varieties we have from all regions within New Zealand. Whether it be a fruity Pinot Gris with apple and pear notes from the North to a southern Pinot Noir with full-flavored plum notes, New Zealand has it all,” The Kiwi Chamber said. This year the Seoul festival will take place at the outdoor waterfall garden

at the Grand Hyatt Seoul on May 26 while the Busan festival will be held at the new Ananti Cove Resort on June 2. Both will offer a Kiwi-themed meal. The Seoul festival will have a casual outdoor BBQ buffet while Busan will have a gourmet buffet. They will also have special areas to display a variety of quality New Zealand food and beverage products. Guests can also take part in a lucky draw with prizes that include hotel packages, gift sets and a grand prize of one economy return ticket to New Zealand from sponsor Singapore Airlines. Tickets are 100,000 won for Kiwi Chamber members, 120,000 won for non-members and 130,000 won for at-door purchase. Group discount tickets are also available for 100,000 won per person for groups of eight or more. For more information, contact the chamber at chamber@ or Dates: May 26 (Seoul) & June 2 (Busan) Time: 4-8 pm Location: Grand Hyatt Seoul (Seoul) & Ananti Cove Resort (Busan) Tickets: 100,000 won (Kiwi Chamber members), 120,000 won (non-members), 130,000 won (At-door)

Our theme, Pure Discovery New Zealand Wine, will allow the participant to explore and ‘discover’ the new varieties we have from all regions within New Zealand. Whether it be a fruity Pinot Gris with apple and pear notes from the North to a southern Pinot Noir with full-flavored plum notes, New Zealand has it all The Kiwi Chamber 35


To Like, or Not To Like: Merely a First World Problem? Disconnecting from social media is good for the soul Story JIAYING LIM



mental health tip I often fall back on, whether with public talk audiences or private therapy clients, pertains to disconnecting. This action, or simply the intention, is very relatable as well as highly relevant in this day and age, and undeniably comes up increasingly as we become more connected than ever before. I imagine to many, catching up on the latest via our social media feeds is a convenient and “fun” way to occupy ourselves as we jostle for space in a crowded subway carriage, or when we pretend to look busy (or selfimportant) while with others or alone. “Fun.” Take a moment to think about whether the experience of scrolling through your feeds has truly given you fun and joy. Even though social media has been linked to dopamine, which is generally known as our happy hormone, it is not

a direct correlation that the name may mislead you into concluding. The relationship is not more social media, more happiness. Let’s clarify this popular misconception. We may know that dopamine is one of the contributing factors behind addictive behaviours. The craving for drugs, alcohol, even sugar (and it is not a coincidence that sugar has been suggested to contribute to recurrent depression). Very simply summarized, these substances trigger the release of dopamine, which gives a sense of pleasure. This hedonistic experience goads us into pursuing the substance again, in order to re-experience the pleasure, and this encourages the initial steps toward a cycle of addiction. Adding iPhones to a list of dangerous substances might seem to be diluting how pressing the other listed concerns


are, but in reality, social media isn’t a tongue-in-cheek response. Social media platforms have been welldevised with a random or variable pattern of reward reinforcement that keeps users wanting. One of the most influential of behavioural psychologists B. F. Skinner discovered that, as opposed to consistent rewards, rewarding in a random or variable fashion encourages persistence. This is because the person waiting for the reward cannot forecast when it will be awarded so keeps on going in anticipation. A clear example of this is gambling behaviour, like with slot machines. Or when skincare shops in Korea don’t schedule a regular seasonal sale and you keep going by the store, hoping to chance by the sale. What happens instead is you inadvertently end up making more purchases than planned. Unpredictable rewards keep people going and cash registers ringing. Rewards off social media are similarly random. Most of the time, we will not know who, if any, will like our post. After posting something, we wait for the reward: a like, a heart, a gushing affirmation. We keep checking in to see if more people have liked our post since three minutes ago. When we see a like, we get a temporary rush but that fades quickly, and we realise we need more. We return to checking in again, and again, and again, to see if more rewards have come in. When we don’t see a like, likewise (pun intended), we return to checking in again, and again, determined to keep checking until our behaviour is rewarded. The intermittent, random pattern of virtual rewards keeps us hooked on that social media outlet and it is difficult for us to cease the behaviour since we cannot figure out when the rewards will stop. Who knows, someone could like my photo of my latte tomorrow night. And how would I know that if I am not checking. Last month’s article brought up the negative impact of smartphones on our concentration and task performance. That and inoculating ourselves against social media addiction are excellent reasons to start a social media hibernation.

Even though social media has been linked to dopamine, which is generally known as our happy hormone, it is not a direct correlation that the name may mislead you into concluding. The relationship is not more social media, more happiness.



The intermittent, random pattern of virtual rewards keeps us hooked on that social media outlet and it is difficult for us to cease the behaviour since we cannot figure out when the rewards will stop.

Beyond these two points lies yet another convincingly persuasive mental health reason. In 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced depression as the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, with an estimated 300 million people afflicted. According to their numbers, in 2015, 1.9 million people (4.1 percent of the population) in South Korea reported a depressive disorder. News articles too draw attention to the links between social media and mental health, be it the negative association between Facebook use and overall wellbeing (Harvard Business Review) or research supporting positive correlations between social media usage and depression in young adults (Forbes). On top of this, the term “Facebook depression” has even been created to connote the kind of depression brought about by Facebook usage. Information is power. So, what’s next? There is no better way to test this out than to try it yourself.


Start by setting aside a few hours to disconnect from your favourite social media platforms. Note how you spend that time instead and how your internal experience is like during this period. When you log-in again after that stipulated period, again, note your internal state. What emotions do you sense? What is your body telling you? Do you feel relief or tightness? Are you elated at seeing your friend’s photo of her pet or is your stomach sinking from the onslaught of stimulation? You are the best gauge of how you feel. For those up for a challenge, perhaps you could choose a no-socialmedia day once a week. See how long you can remain on a social media cleanse and observe if your mind, body, and spirit feel any different.

References: Chowdhry, A. (2016, April 30). Research links heavy Facebook and social media usage to depression. Forbes. Retrieved from amitchowdhry/2016/04/30/study-linksheavy-facebook-and-social-media-usage-todepression/#741344ef4b53 O’Keeffe, G.S., Clarke-Pearson, K., & Council on Communications and Media. (2011). The impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families. Pediatrics, 127, 800-804. Retrieved from http:// Shakya, H. B., & Christakis, N. A. (2017, April 10). A new, more rigorous study confirms: The more you use Facebook, the worse you feel. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from World Health Organisation. (2017, March 30). “Depression: let’s talk” says WHO, as depression tops list of causes of ill health. Retrieved from releases/2017/world-health-day/en/

Jiaying Lim is a licensed clinical and registered psychologist with Couchology, a private practice in Seoul, South Korea, which provides English psychological services; evening and weekend appointments are available to accommodate every client’s busy schedule. For more information, visit or like Couchology at





MAKING IT BETTER Blues band Billy Carter talks upcoming tour & plans to help women Story EMMA KALKA Photos KIM YOUNGJOON


or any band or musician, life is a constant cycle of recording, playing gigs, going on tour, finding gigs and so on. For local blues band Billy Carter, that’s not so different. The band, consisting of vocalist Kim Jiwon, guitarist Kim Jina and drummer Lee Hyun-joon, dropped two EPs simultaneously in December. They were the latest in their Color Series – “The Orange” and “The Green.” What’s more, they will be heading out to the U.K. for a three-week tour in May starting at Liverpool Soundcity and ending at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton. But beyond that, the band is hoping to change Korean indie band culture and make it a better and safer atmosphere for women. “There was an archive; it was written by many women in the audience and they wrote things about what they felt


and… it’s more about women’s rights. Like how women feel uncomfortable in certain situations as well as sexual harassment,” said Jiwon. She is referring to a Google document started somewhere in 2016 though it gained media attention earlier this year amid growing attention to Korea’s Me Too Movement. Titled “한국 인디밴드의 공연을 안 가는 이유들,” or “Why We Don’t Go to Korean Indie Band Concerts” in English, the document lists over 100 anecdotes from women at indie concerts, including stories of groping and verbal harassment. It has since gained support from the Seoul Foundation of Arts & Culture. “We really want to make the whole situation related to indie band culture – we want to know what they really want to make this whole situation better for them,” Jiwon said. “To feel safe and feel

free to enjoy live music again.” She continues that the band is currently working and planning different events to not only bring awareness to the issue, but to affect actual change and make a difference. “We want to listen to them. We want to communicate. And we want to know what we can do to make the atmosphere for live gigs better.” The band says women’s issues is not something that they’ve intentionally focused on, but with two founding members being women and working with other women in music, it’s naturally a part of their lives. Jiwon says that it’s just something you naturally think about and focus on as a woman musician, but more than their own experiences, they feel the women in the audience are facing more hardships, which is why they want to reach out to them.


And through making the environment at live shows better, hopefully they can then make society in general better for women. Jiwon says this goal ties in a lot with the messages from Billy Carter’s latest EPs. A bit darker than past releases, the EPs touch on difficult experiences in life. “The Orange” is meant to represent flowers and is an aggressive approach to the battles of life. “The Green” symbolizes grass and broaches such topics as birth and death. They are the latest in their Color series, which started with the first – “The Red” – in 2015, which was followed by “The Yellow” in 2016. Jiwon says they are hoping to release their second LP next year. But beyond that, Billy Carter is preparing for their second UK tour

We really want to make the whole situation related to indie band culture – we want to know what they really want to make this whole situation better for them. To feel safe and feel free to enjoy live music again Kim Jiwon, vocalist



which kicks off on May 5 at Liverpool Soundcity. Jiwon said they got the opportunity to play at the major showcase festival through local showcase Zandari Festa. She adds that they were also able to play at Primavera Sound in Barcelona last year through Zandari. “We love Zandari!” she exclaimed with a laugh. She added that playing at such a big showcase events is important to them as a band. “Because we really want to make something more from the festivals. You know, not only one time, but we’re gonna keep doing this.” The tour will also take them to Cork, Ireland, which they also played at last year. They will be doing a gig with a local band called The Grunge, who gave them a heart-filled welcome, and then are to London before ending at The Great Escape. Jiwon said it’s been a dream of theirs to play at the festival in Brighton. “That is one festival we really wanted to take part in someday. And yea, this happened,” she said with a grin. “I heard people there, people who come to enjoy the festival, I heard they know how to enjoy the festival. And yea, the atmosphere sounds really good.” While last year the band was playing every day of their tour, this year they’ve scheduled in some downtime to either enjoy traveling or just doing nothing. Jiwon said they plan to meet new friends and have fun as well as


Many local bands there playing with us, they helped us out last year. And this time again Kim Jiwon, vocalist

enjoying the local drinks – whisky for Jina and ale for Jiwon. Though it won’t be all fun and games. Touring abroad comes with its own challenges, such as dealing with equipment. Playing in Korea, the band usually only has to bring their instruments and drum sticks. But in the U.K., they have to worry about amps, backlines and drum sets. “Many local bands there playing with us, they helped us out last year. And this time again,” Jiwon said. She also said they sense a difference in the audience’s approach to their shows. While in Korea, folks pay rapt attention to the band and stage – something Jiwon says is likely due to the lack of weekday shows and a fully formed live music culture in Korea – while there, the audience is more focused on having a good time. “I think it’s a kind of cultural

difference and both, both are amazing for us,” she said. Upon their return to Korea, Billy Carter will also be taking part in the first-ever DMZ Peace Train Music Festival being put on in part by Glastonbury organizer Martin Elbourne, who also helps organize The Great Escape Festival. The lineup includes the likes of local favorites Crying Nut and Jambinai, but will also include Scottish band Colonel Mustard and the Dijon Five. And with all that going on, what is the last thing they hope to tell their fans? “Brush your teeth when you go to bed,” Jiwon said, somewhat seriously after a long pause, before the rest burst into laughter. “It’s really easy to forget if you’re drunk! People don’t brush their teeth when you get drunk, but it’s really bad for your gums. Let’s save our money for the dentist…”


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HBC Fest Year Thirteen: F

Unlucky For None Local fest endures through HBC change Story DAVID TIZZARD • Photos XXX


or many that have lived and worked in South Korea for some time, Haebangchon has always been the spiritual home of the gonzoists. The place where people live out Hunter-esque lifestyles: drinking beer upon waking, howling into the night, and traversing the streets in all manner of undress. Much of that lifestyle and many of its more ardent practitioners have receded in the past few years as the increasing gentrification has spread out from Itaewon’s newly-built back streets of restaurants adorned with the face of the local bald guy and sunk its coffee shop-fueled grips into the neighbouring Gyeongnidan and Haebangchon. And yet, despite all that has come and gone in that time, the Haebangchon Festival remains. Now entering its 13th year, it serves as a bridge between a time that once was and the now more family-friendly and palatable side of the town. A decade ago, bringing someone to the festival on a Friday night or busy Saturday afternoon in the sun would


be a true test of their mettle. Now, people will queue outside the surprisingly never-empty pizza joint taking selfies, slurping lattes, and remarking on why a few people are walking about with guitars and what all the noise is about. This is all from the perspective of a performer and a drinker, however. From an organizational perspective, Lance Reegan-Diehl – the owner of DEELEEBOB Music and festival founder and organizer has provided the community with a culture of its own. “I like the fact that it has endured, remained free, and it has always held a positive image for the musicians that take part in this ‘live’ music festival,” he says. And he’s undeniably right. When other local organizers are charging you just shy of fifty bucks to see some chap touring from England who does karaoke over his synths for 40 minutes, a free weekend festival of music is certainly not to be sniffed at. And while the festival does give local acts the chance to get together - to play, to perform, and to frolic – it also encourages international performers, too. Kenji Onizuka is a frequent visitor from Japan, bringing with him his guitar and inimitable style. Other acts have ventured from Italy and Germany to play here as well. The notion of “playing” is very much in the mind of Lance when he discusses what kind of acts perform at the fest: “Get the funding, fight with residents and cops for 12 years, run your own karaoke/rapper/DJ fest or costume party.” Hear, hear! It’s that kind of attitude that makes the festival what it is. Gives it character, identity, and a raison d’etre. While I must admit I do miss some of the more outrageous costumes people would often adorn when the fest was truly in its debaucherous prime, organizer Lance is very much right in stamping some of what he believes live music is and should be on this event. That’s even more revealing when one considers the struggles and fights he has endured as the neighborhood has changed around him. He is involved with the town council, attends meetings to discuss the issues affecting the local community and has even written a chapter in the Yongsan-funded book about the HBC area. His memories of buying “danger” tape to cordon off the

streets on busy nights are now being replaced with discussions of sidewalks in the town. And with an ever-increasing number of visitors arriving for a hamburger and a coffee on the first part of their date course rather than a day boozing in flip-flops, those sidewalks and traffic control areas for cars will be necessary. And then what of the army base that occupies much of the vicinity at the bottom of the hill? With the relocations to Pyongtaek underway, there’s going to be a big shift happening and that might reverb on the festival itself. “I think that is the side to watch out for, if the Yongsan North post is really a city park, then HBC could continue kind of as is for the next 10 years” says Lance. “As always, I make a 5-year plan, and roll with it… then make another one. Keep going like that.” And here’s hoping it does keep going like that; stays true to what it is good at, and adapts and evolves to the environment around it. Venues come and go, players drink and leave, the neighborhood shifts and shapes, but the music will live on and serve as fuel to the many people that live here. In May 2008, I walked down those dark steps into Ssen Bar with my band The Decadent Gonads to play my first HBC festival. Photos online confirm my memories of the bar being filled with a sea of people – not necessarily to see our band – but simply to be in the music. To drink, to talk, and to dance. To write their own Rum Diaries. Since then, I’ve played countless festivals and my bands have changed as my hair has shortened. The idea inside remains the same, however. And it’s one that finds a home in the Haebangchon festival.

I like the fact that it has endured, remained free, and it has always held a positive image for the musicians that take part in this ‘live’ music festival. Lance Reegan-Dieh, founder

When: • May 25th, 9pm to 12am BAD HORSiE @ Bedrock in HBC 9pm • May 25th, 9pm to 12am - HBC May Fest. 8 venues running 9pm - 12am • May 26th 3pm - 2am -HBC May Fest. 14+ venues running 3pm - 2am • May 27th 7pm Open stage at Hidden Cellar For more details, including an updated schedule and list of performers, please visit the main website and the Facebook links.



Digital Media City:

URBAN PLAYGROUND Exploring the center of Korea’s digital age Story and Photos WENDY PALOMO

MBC, Nuritkum Square and Star Park MBC occupies the most space here in Digital Media City. It is in the center, proudly stamping its brand on imposing buildings. The main MBC Building that serves as the company’s headquarters stretches and occupies one side of the full block of the main plaza of DMC. It houses the threepart MBC Theme Park where visitors can enjoy and live their K-drama life. The park has given so much happiness and giggles to K-drama fans. The MBC Mall Park is a miniature version of the futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Though small, this glistening, silver building right in the center commands attention. The Nuritkum Square produces a wealth of digital content for movies, dramas and commercials. Production facilities and companies thrive here since this




he spread of aesthetically remarkable buildings in the whole of Digital Media City (DMC) is an architectural delight. A leisurely walk stretching from the DMC Gallery up to the Millenium Eye Park is a walk in a paradise of contemporary design. If it challenges your imagination of how the future looks, then it is successful in the imagery it evokes. Each and every structure, from the media poles, buildings and sculptures, serves as visual entertainment. The visual entertainment is complemented by its capabilities. DMC is, after all, home to a state-of-the art complex where Korea’s major media companies reside. How to get to DMC DMC is located at 366 World Cup Buk-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul. Easiest commute will be to go down Exit 9 of Digital Media City and it will be a short five-minute walk towards the cluster of buildings that make up DMC.

DDMC Tower, SBS Building, YTN Tower and CJ E&M The cluster of buildings beside the gallery and the sculpture vie for attention. Rightly so. Each of these buildings creates its own identity and demand for appreciation. DDMC Tower could be your typical huge building if not for the graceful lines that accentuate its glass walls. The gracefully curved lines soften its hugeness and give character to its glass walls. Standing in front of the YTN Tower gives a New York Times Square feel. It has a huge LED screen showing real time news. At night, the building shines bright in all corners. CJ E&M’s exterior is halved by a big screen showing all the magnificence of CJ E&M’s digital graphics. It’s a daily display of bursting colors. The SBS Prism Tower stands in its tiled façade of dainty blue and pink. The whole building is covered with blue and white tiles with a square cut in the middle giving space for media wall. Of course, no building in this highly-innovative and technologically-equipped milieu goes without entertaining illuminations, especially at night. Daytime goes by with their respective shows broadcasted on their screens.

was put up to serve as a conducive and inspiring place to burst with creative juices. The Star Park is true to its name and delivers the handprints of glamour. A long expanse of the MBC grounds is dedicated to these celebrity handprints. It’s not exclusive to Korean celebrities, apparently. International celebrities who have graced the APAN Awards have their own dedicated handprints, too. In the middle of the park conspicuously stands a sculpture of two humans, mirrored by a red frame, almost touching their fingers. It is powerful in its imagery and you may entertain yourselves with various interpretations. This prominent sculpture is called “Square M-Communication”. This is a world-famous sculpture courtesy of a scene in “Avengers: The Age of Ultron” where a flying object passed over the sculpture.


TRAVEL DMC Gallery The DMC Gallery is the best place to start your walk through the whole complex. It has a rolling red carpet warmly welcoming everyone without any entrance fee. The Gallery exhibits the admirable history of Sangamdong’s landfill area that has now become a model of ecological transformation. Never miss the 3D video presentation that will leave you in awe of the DMC’s high technological features. The walk spanning Digital Media Street will show you all the features in the short clip. The Gallery is also a cultural facility where interactive screens just outside the small theatre are waiting for visitors to playfully interact. The second floor houses the MCN Experience Center where visitors can have a glimpse of, and try to be part of, the Filming Studio, Recording Studio, Editing Studio, Chromakey Studio and MCN Showroom. Where to Start Your Walking Tour Just beside the red-carpeted DMC Gallery stands a huge two-headed sculpture of a man and a woman. When illuminated at night, they make a stunning photo. The woman, looking up to the sky, appears to be embracing the man who was looking to the ground. This is a very visual convergence of man, media and technology. And this is just the start of the awesomeness.

The Millenium Eye Park The Millenium Eye is located at the other end of DMC in the Guryong neighborhood park. It is the symbol of DMC with its 142 stainless steel balls looking like they are rising water bubbles that reflect the vision of leading the world into the future of the digital media era. The Millenium Eye consists of three parts – “Millenium Cell”, “Global Eye” and “World Square” – which captures the features of DMC, a place where people around the world will engage in active exchanges and experience various things through advanced media technology.


Korean Film Archive The Korean Film Archive is DMC’s treasure. One hundred years of Korean movie history is curated in its museum located on the ground floor of the building. There are tour guides available upon request for scheduled group tours, but these are done in Korean. But fret not, the museum has English translations. You can quietly go about appreciating the Korean film industry from past to present. Aside from the museum, the Korean Film Archive Building has Cinematheque located at B1. It is a “space where a variety of classic and artistic films, both domestic and international, are screened in accordance with the basic purpose of rediscovering the values of films suffering from wear and tear, films gradually forgotten by audiences, and films whose values were not properly recognized.” Movies are screened free-of-charge from Tuesday to Sunday.


The Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival: Itaewon Moves South Treachery and Mania in the Land of the Jindogae Story ZEV D. BLUMENFELD Illustrations ANDERS NIENSTAEDT


here was no escaping the treachery I felt at that moment. My advisor and I were headed southbound in a speeding bus piloted by some hunched-back, raging lunatic with a deep-seated hatred for the road and contempt for anybody who got in his path. The bus swerved onto a bridge nearly throwing Binx and me from our seats. “This bastard’s going to kill us!” bellowed my advisor. “Don’t worry, man. I hear the Jindo locals can cure anything—even death.” “Bull!” “No, man—it’s probably some ancient island voodoo sh*t. Trust me, there’s nothing to worry about,” I assured. But I could feel it—a sharp anxiety pervaded over the entire bus. What had started out as a continued pseudo-


anthropological exploration into the discovery of “true” Korean life had quickly veered into sheer madness. Maybe this trip would be too pure for our Western minds. “Doomed” the headline would read. “Crackpot Journalist And Boorish Advisor Gone Missing;” “Eaten Alive By Jindogaes.” The instructions were simple enough. At 11 p.m. a fellow by the name of Joo would meet us at the bus terminal. We’d hitch a ride 20 kilometers to the south shore of the island and pray to ol’ Lordsy that we wouldn’t end up being chopped into feed for the Jindogaes— locally bred Jindo dogs with an unwavering loyalty to their masters and a crippling bite for any trespasser. If not that, then a potentially even worse fate awaited us—forced slavery. Rumors had been swirling in the weeks prior that told of visitors,

adventure-seekers with the best of intentions, who had gone to Jindo hoping to bask in the island paradise and instead found something far more sinister. Story after story recounted the tragic fates of these unsuspecting tourists who had been forced into years of hard labor, tilling the salt beds, wasting away the remainder of their lives with no plan of escape and no hope for rescue. “I’m not going out like that, man!” I said as the engine of the bus roared past the dark, island farmland. Minutes later we swerved into the station’s parking lot. A lone streetlight stood where the pavement met the sidewalk, its orange light fading across a quiet side street. The bus driver was the first one off the bus, his face red, wrinkled, and tired. It was nothing some soju couldn’t fix.


“...the gold crowns on his two front teeth flashing with each successive syllable. This must have been Joo, I reasoned. He stopped abruptly as if waiting for us to say something. “Waegukin.” He smiled. “Waegukin, indeed,” I replied.

He eyed us as I bent down, yanking my bike from the luggage compartment. From the shadows came the rapid-fire cadence of a Korean voice. I straightened back up, coming face-to-face with a man, the gold crowns on his two front teeth flashing with each successive syllable. This must have been Joo, I reasoned. He stopped abruptly as if waiting for us to say something. “Waegukin.” He smiled. “Waegukin, indeed,” I replied. As any caring grandfather might do, he grabbed my bike and wheeled it 100 or so meters towards his truck. In his Gatling-gun cadence and thick fisherman’s accent, he continued speaking…about something. But who knew exactly what. We tied the bike to the flatbed and piled into the cab. “We don’t speak Korean, but we’re good ol’ country folk,” Binx assured. Joo looked over, studying Binx. The car fell silent. Joo’s smile widened, his gold teeth shined, and he began laughing. He turned the key in the ignition and the Hyundai sputtered away. We never did find out what had been so funny—but it didn’t matter really. We were part of the entertainment here. In fact, I suspected it was half the reason the government employed clownish, under-credentialed foreigners. We were told that we’d be teaching kids, while in reality we were performers brought to entertain. But an introverted loner, such as myself, who impulsively calculated the risk of opening his mouth to ask something as trivial as “How was your weekend?” likely wasn’t the type of amusement they had hoped for. I played the part poorly. The truck smelled of sand and salt. It let out a guttural croak every time the gears shifted and shook as we ascended the first hill. Just as the wheels reached the top where the road flattened, I saw the horror that lay before us. There, in the middle of the road was a dead black cat. Had this been the fate of the poor f*ckers who had ambled into the fog in Hwacheon? Maybe the fog had been some portal and this was the other side. Quite possibly, I reasoned.



The road was dark with few street lights on either side, beyond which lay sprawling seas of farmland. The stars were out that night and aside from the dead cats the whole place seemed reasonably peaceful. By the time we arrived at the minbak (guesthouse) Joo had stopped talking likely from self-exhaustion. The smell of salt hung in the air. In the distance, the sound of waves crashed against the shore. We followed Joo across an alleyway to the guesthouse where only a bluish-tinged light shined. A lady sat on the house steps. I bowed slightly,


saying hello, to which she stood up, let out a grunt, and walked inside. Joo showed me to my suite. The entrance had three sliding doors where no matter how I slid them together a gap remained. Inside was a dusty entranceway as long and wide as a diving board. Guests were supposed to remove their shoes here. The inner wooden doors creaked open revealing a living room devoid of furniture. There was a yellowish-brown heat mat covering the floor and a television— the portable kind from the 1990s—had been placed on a stool in the corner.

Joo studied the remote, struggling to find the power button. When it finally switched on there was only static. He pointed to a pile of VHS tapes, indicating he’d exerted himself enough. He continued the tour, showing me the bedroom where small bugs clung to the walls, but I figured any roof over my head was better than none at all. I paid him and he asked if I was hungry. As this had been the second time he’d asked, I obliged and trailed him into the kitchen. A layer of grime caked to the floor where I sat. Dusty bottles of rice wine were piled in a corner. The pots and pans hung from a shelf and overpoured from the dish drain. He went to a mostly empty cupboard and removed two packs of ramen noodles, grabbed a pot, and briefly glanced inside, likely checking for bugs. It passed the test— the pot was clean, clean enough. He hunched over the grungy, industrial stove—the kind you might see at a kids summer camp—and stirred methodically, muttering to himself the entire time. When the ramen was boiling, he took the pot and set it in front of me. In between bites, I attempted small talk, even going as far as to Google translate. But after telling me that his eyes were bad, he became frustrated and requested that I eat. I scarfed down the remaining noodles and departed. As fortune had it, Joo’s bedroom was directly above mine. So that night, I drifted asleep listening to Joo and his wife discuss the two weird Americans he had met. I awoke to the sound of Jindogae howls. The wooden door had swung further ajar and headlights glared into the room. “Quick, man! We’re under attack.” But Binx had disappeared. A brass drum rang in the distance. I dressed and hurried out. Four tour buses idled in the parking lot across the street from the minbak. “Woo, yeah, JinDOO!” a buff guy with a camouflage backpack sprang from the bus. Pipe down, you maniac. They’ll set the dogs on us, I thought. He cocked his head, puzzled. Had he heard me? We stood in the darkness unspeaking. “What is it? Hurry up with it man.


I don’t have all f*ckin’ day.” And then I saw it. Behind us, some fifty meters from the buses, a mob chanted—brandishing lit torches and banging brass drums. “Now you’ve done it, man. They’ve sent the g*ddamn island militia after us. You better get back on that bus and hightail it out of here.” The drums grew louder. I tried to run, but was swept into the pack of torch walkers. “Watch where you’re walking, you small-faced foreigner.” It was Binx in full warrior face paint, torch in hand, raising it up and down in some kind of tribal rhythm. He passed me the torch, waving it from left to right and then up above his head, and down into my hands. “Take this my son. It’ll ward off the spirits.” The leaders wore primary-colored attire with large pom-pom ball hats that shook as they danced about. We followed, zigzagging from side to side as the road curved along the shoreline to an outlook point. An emcee’s voice pierced through the air, drawing my eyes to a stone monument of an elderly woman and what I assumed was her pet tiger. Fireworks exploded above us. Gothic, orchestral music blared from the speakers...And then it was over. The organizers gathered the torches and the crowd dispersed, back down the road from which we came. The sun had risen in a perfect circle— the way it had so often been depicted in old movies about “the orient.” “And who might this sexy lass be?” asked Binx, wandering up to the statues. “Somebody’s grandmama, you pig. We’ve gotta treat this lady with respect. Isn’t that right, Ms.—?” A placard at the base of the monument read, “The Legend of the Sea-Parting Miracle- The Story of Grandmother Ppong.” “Ms. Ppong.” It was the classic “oh-weaccidentally-left-granny-behind” story. The Son family decides to build a raft and flee from the tiger-infested island where they live. But they make a grave mistake--they forget poor gran-gran... uh-oh. She’s forced to endure life among the tigers, so every night she

prays for help from the Dragon King. Sure enough, one night the guy isn’t very busy and decides to help Ppong by creating a rainbow bridge from the island to her family’s new home. However, what he should have given her were some prosthetic legs or a wheelchair, because during her trek across the rainbow, she collapses from fatigue. Her family, who has been crossing from the other side of the rainbow, finds her, and she dies in their arms. “Sounds like we found the origin of the K-drama,” Binx said aloud. I couldn’t disagree. Koreans did have a knack for melodrama. Their soap

It was natural to seek familiarity, but on a global scale cultures had been bastardized and debased in the name of convenience and amenity. And for that matter, what had happened to “true” Korea?

operas had reached global audiences stretching as far as Cuba. When we finally returned to the central area of the festival, the morning mist had lifted and in its place sat what would define the tone for the rest of the day—foreigners. They had come, unannounced and uncensored, hungrier than a pack of wild boars. Bros and hipsters, soldiers and teachers, expats from everywhere around had scurried away from the sewers below nightclub bathrooms and into this park. These were the type of people imported from the frat houses of collegian America, sporting tinted Wayfarers, American-flag boat shorts, and tank tops. The type that would find a shirt with the words “My wife is hot” to be either cleverly original or humorously ironic. They lay sprawled out on picnic tables and benches, holding Solo cups, exuding a “unique individuality” nobody else in the world possessed…except for the person to his right…and the person to her left…It was as if Itaewon—the foreign hub in Seoul—had been stuffed into a shipping crate, flown over the Korean Peninsula, and air-dropped directly into this square. It was “Itaewon Condensed,” an unfiltered, f*ckall-of-aparty, and I was about to be caught in the middle of this mania. “Where the hell are we, man?” my advisor asked. “Good question. Briny smell, hipsters, valley girls, army bros, frat douchebags—seems like we must have slipped into some wormhole and landed in Venice Beach.” “Douchebag?” huffed a voice from in front of us. He had a stout physique, which bubbled out from his tight wife-beater. A faded American flag was printed on his shorts. I opened my mouth to respond, but Binx stepped in. “You. You vile piece of amniotic sac.” “Whatever, bro.” He walked away. “Well, that went smoothly,” I said to Binx. A girl with a valley accent and her friends passed us. “Tinder’s not fun anymore now that Ruby’s not here. Ya know? I told her like, ‘Ruby, Tinder’s not even fun anymore now that you’re not here.’ It’s just not fun anymore.”



Was she seeking some kind of verbal agreement or just attention? I couldn’t tell. She had certainly emphasized her point. Around this small park the festival had dubbed as the Global Zone, foreign food vendors braced for the truth to rear its ugly head, knowing that come the next day, it would all be over and they would drive off handsomely rewarded for withstanding the firestorm of belligerent lunatics. Behind the vendors was the Global Stage. An area where foreigners sang K-pop drunkenly offbeat, usually only remembering enough lyrics to make slurred attempts at the chorus. A sandpit for traditional wrestling lay in the middle of all this. Instead of providing a means for cultural exploration, the organizers had catered the festival directly to the foreigner. A more appropriate name for the Global Zone would have been “Your Home Away From Home.” Come relax and party in the comforts of familiarity--feel at home even when abroad. It was natural to seek familiarity, but on a global scale cultures had been bastardized and debased in the name of convenience and amenity. And for that matter, what had happened to “true” Korea? Where was it? Where had it gone? Binx and I walked to the Jindogae agility course near the entrance. Trainers were already practicing with their dogs, running them up ramps, through hoops and tunnels, and passed a rusty refrigerator. “Hey doggy, how ‘bout a beer?” yelled Binx. One trainer coaxed his dog over to a series of elevated, metal hoops. Despite being tied to his leash, the dog jumped through flawlessly. For his next trick, the trainer leaned forward so that his torso was parallel to the ground. The dog promptly jumped up and stood balancing on the trainer’s back. The onlooking, shirtless army bros sipped their Solo cups and yelled in approval. But the Jindogae had, had enough. It pranced over to the refrigerator, lifted its leg and claimed the appliance as its own. I raised my cup, “Give ‘em hell, Jindogae,”


The dog looked up, sniffed the air, and ran toward the exit. “Food whores--that’s what they are,” Binx spat. “These are some of the smartest dogs known to man! Even the g*ddamn LAPD considered using these beasts. They’re cold blooded savages.” “Savages! Ha! He couldn’t find his tail if he sat on it,” Binx laughed and

leaned closer to me, the devil in his eyes. “Drink this.” I looked at the bottle, studying the label. “Hongju. It’s a local spirit, eh?” “Just drink it.” With that, Binx wandered off to watch the foreigner toga party and wrestling match.


Mothers and children walked alongside soldiers who clutched at their spirits hoping not to lose them to the current’s grip. One belligerent drunk splashed about, drenching a nearby family. The Hongju was like drinking the devil’s blood. It made my skin itch like mad. “The f*ckers man! They’re out to get us!” By the afternoon, I had sunken too far. Time passed. I found myself outside, slouched at a table with kimchi and soup side dishes. A group of Korean women in yellow vests with the Red Cross emblem prepared food behind me. I was the only foreigner in the tent. My blood was too thick for this heat. After years of winters in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, you build up a tolerance for the cold. This heat had drained me and the devil’s claw crept closer. The hongju had snagged and ripped me into a dark pit of cynical thought. Where were we going on this April afternoon? We gathered for the sea-parting trek at around 5 o’clock. When the tide finally receded and the level of the water was low enough to walk, the crowd pushed into the sea. Mothers and children walked alongside soldiers who clutched at their spirits hoping not to lose them to the current’s grip. One belligerent drunk splashed about, drenching a nearby family. When I finally turned around to view the shore, lighted lanterns floated into the air, drifting above the beach and into the approaching night. The water became grey like dark concrete and the tide rushed back with force. “It’s going to sweep us out to the Ppong rainbow!” I blurted to nobody in particular.

Should I have stayed away from the Jindo festival? Self-destructive tendencies had arisen from the treachery. What was the purpose of this gathering at its core? Did the bros sloshing through the harbor even give a second thought to it all? Had the organizers, like her family, abandoned Grandma Ppong? Maybe it didn’t matter. “Stop taking everything so seriously, you fool,” Binx said, now behind me. Jindo seemed to have sold itself. Come one, come all, calling all buffoons from near and far. As I walked back to Joo’s minbak, I passed Grandma Ppong a final time. Empty bottles and food wrappers had been left at her base. Bird sh*t had dripped down her hat and dried.

This year marks the 40th annual celebration of Grandma Ppong’s journey along the rainbow bridge. The Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival will be held from May 16-19th on Jindo Island. From Seoul, the Express Bus Terminal runs four trips per day directly to the island. If you decide to go, don’t miss out on exploring all the island has to offer.


LISTINGS EMBASSIES American Embassy (02) 397-4114 • 188 Sejongdaero, Jongno-gu, Seoul Canadian Embassy (02) 3783-6000 • (613) 996-8885 (Emergency Operations Center) Jeongdong-gil (Jeong-dong) 21, Jung-gu, Seoul British Embassy (02) 3210-5500 • Sejongdaero 19-gil 24, Jung-gu, Seoul Australian Embassy (02) 2003-0100 • 19th fl, Kyobo bldg., 1 Jongno 1-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul Philippine Embassy (02) 796-7387~9 • 5-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Spanish Embassy (02) 794-3581 • 726-52 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul French Embassy (02) 3149-4300 • 30 Hap-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

HOTELS & RESORTS Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul (02) 2250-8080 • San 5-5, Jangchung-dong 2-ga Jung gu,Seoul Novotel Ambassador Gangnam (02) 567-1101 • 603 Yeoksam 1-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul


HOTELS & RESORTS Lotte Hotel Busan (051) 810-1000 • 772 Gaya-daero, Busanjin-gu, Busan

AIRLINES Korean Air 1588-2001 Asiana Airlines 1588-8000 Lufthansa (02) 2019-0180 Garuda Indonesia (02) 773-2092 Jeju Air 1599-1500 T’way Air 1688-8686 Jin Air 1600-6200 British Airways (02) 774-5511 Cathay Pacific Airways (02) 311-2700 Delta Airlines (02) 754-1921 Emirates Airlines (02) 2022-8400

Park Hyatt Busan (051) 990-1244 • 51, Marine City 1-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan 612-824, Korea

EMERGENCY CENTERS University Dongsan Medical Center (053) 250-7167 (7177 / 7187) 56 Dalseong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu Gangnam St-Mary’s Hospital 1588-1511 • 222 Banpodaero, Seocho-gu, Seoul

Yongsan Intl. School (02) 797-5104 • San 10-213 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Seoul Intl. School (031) 750-1200 • 388-14 Bokjeong-dong, Sujeonggu, Seongnam, Gyeonggido Branksome Hall Asia (02) 6456-8405 • Daejung-eup, Seogipo-si, Jeju Island Daegu Intl. School (053) 980-2100 • 1555 Bongmu-dong, Dong-gu, Daegu

Yonsei Severance Hospital (Sinchon) (02) 2227-7777 • 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul Seoul National University Hospital 1339 • 28-2 Yeongeondong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Seoul Samsung Hospital 1599-3114 • 50 Irwon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Asan Medical Center 1688-7575 • 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center (053) 250-7167 (7177 / 7187) • 56 Dalseong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu

Grand Hilton Seoul (02) 3216-5656 • 353 Yeonhui-ro, Seodaemungu, Seoul Somerset Palace Seoul (02) 6730-8888 • 85 Susong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Park Hyatt Seoul (02) 2016-1244 • 606 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul


Dulwich College Seoul offers an exemplary British-style international education (including IGCSE and IBDP) for over 600 expatriate students aged 2 to 18 from over 40 different countries. 6 Sinbanpo-ro 15-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea 02-3015-8500

LISTINGS FAMILY AND KIDS Eton House Prep (02) 749-8011 • 68-3 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul A unique British-style Prep School for children of all nationalities from 2-13 years of age. A broad, challenging and innovative curriculum preparing pupils for senior school and life beyond. AMUSEMENT PARKS Everland Resort (031) 320-5000 • 310 Jeondae-ri, Pogokeup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do Lotte World (02) 411-2000 0 • 240 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul Pororo Park (D-Cube city) 1661-6340 • 360-51 Sindorim-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul Children’s Grand Park (zoo) (02) 450-9311 • 216 Neungdong-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul Seoul Zoo (02) 500-7338 • 159-1 Makgyedong, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do BOOKSTORES What the Book? (02) 797-2342 • 176-2, Itaewon 1-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul • Located in Itaewon, this English bookstore has new books, used books and children’s books. Kim & Johnson 1566-0549 • B2 fl-1317-20 Seochodong, Seocho-gu, Seoul

HEALTH ORIENTAL MEDICINE Lee Moon Won Korean Medicine Clinic 02) 511-1079 • 3rd fl., Lee&You bldg. 69-5 Chungdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Specializes in hair loss and scalp problems and offers comprehensive treatments and services including aesthetic and hair care products. COSMETIC SURGERY MIZAIN plastic surgery Seoul National University College of Medicine graduate doctors offer the best quality medical services • (02) 515 6199 • Dosan-daero 423 (Cheongdam-dong 91-11), Gangnam-gu, Seoul MVP plastic surgery Welcoming environment for foreigners and friendly staff guarantees a pleasant visit for cosmetic surgery related consultations. (02) 3442 6669 •Nonhyeon-ro 819, Gangnam-gu, Seoul JK plastic surgery center Experience the best medical system in Korea. Its superb system allows the minimum efforts for your medical experiences. (02) 777 0337 • 584-2 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul FITNESS Exxl Fitness Gangnam Finance Center, 737 Yeoksamdong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul


UROLOGY & OB Sewum Urology (02) 3482-8575 • 10th fl., Dongil bldg., 429 Gangnam-daero, Seochogu, Seoul Tower Urology (02) 2277-6699 • 5th fl. 119 Jongno 3-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul DENTAL CLINIC Boston Dental Clinic General dentistry / Periodontics / Orthodontics (02) 3482-0028 • 92-12 5F, Banpo 4-dong (Seorae French Village), Seocho-gu, Seoul OPHTHALMOLOGY Dream Eye Center The best eye clinic for LASIK and LASEK. 3,000+ foreign patients over 20+ years of experience with 0 complaints. If you’re considering getting this, make sure to choose the best. • 1588 9881 • 14 fl., Mijin Plaza, 825 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul ANIMAL HOSPITALS Chunghwa Animal Hospital / Korea Animal Transport (02) 792-7602 • 21-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul /

MUSEUM AND GALLERIES National Museum of Korea (02) 2077-9000 • 168-6 Yongsandong 6-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul The NMK offers educational programs on Korean history and culture in English and Korean. National Palace Museum of Korea (02) 3701-7500 • 12 Hyoja-ro, Jongnogu, Seou This museum has a program called Experiencing Royal Culture designed for English teachers to help learn about Joseon royal culture. Seodaemun Museum of Natural History (02) 330-8899 • 141-52 Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul Don’t know where to take your kids on weekends? This museum exhibits a snapshot of the world and animals. National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (02) 2188-6000 • 313 Gwangmyeongro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do Leeum Samsung Museum of Art (02) 2014-6901• 747-18 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul • 10:30 am-6 pm Closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays. Gallery Hyundai (02) 734-6111~3 • 22 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul The first specialized art gallery in Korea and accommodates contemporary art. • 10 am-6 pm Closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays. Plateau (02) 1577-7595 • 50 Taepyung-ro 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul • 10 am-6 p. m. Closed on Mondays. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (MMCA SEOUL) (02) 3701-9500 • 30 Samcheong-ro, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Daegu Art Museum (053) 790-3000 • 374 Samdeok-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu Art space for local culture presenting Daegu’s contemporary fine arts and internationally renowned artists.



Groove Korea 2018 May  

All festivals in Summer 2018, The Kiwi Chamber Wine festival, Billy Carter, HBC May fest, and more

Groove Korea 2018 May  

All festivals in Summer 2018, The Kiwi Chamber Wine festival, Billy Carter, HBC May fest, and more